Answer: While the Bible does not specify an age gap in marriage, it teaches the basic principle that believers should count the cost before entering any important relationship (Luke 14:28). Age is one of several important compatibility factors associated with successful marriages.
Questions to ponder
Couples must realistically assess long-run matters as in the following areas:
Will the couple be able to sustain their relationship through the good and bad times?
Will they be able to maintain the same loving connection through health and sickness, knowing that the younger spouse will have to take care of the old one? The couple will not grow old together. In the good days, this factor is not felt but when health issues arise, there will be an impact on the relationship.
Will the couple be able to handle successfully the raising of children knowing that older spouse may lack the stamina to deal with the energy of the young and be able to be there for them when there is a need?
Will the couple be able to provide the financial needs for the family as the old spouse may have to retire earlier and this may negatively affect the ability to provide for his loved ones?
Will the couple be able to deal with the social pressures and cultural biases that may have a negative effect on them?
Will the couple be able to handle the immediate family and relatives’ attitudes and prejudices to their commitment?
Are the couple ready to accept the fact that the younger spouse may face the death of his older partner and live alone for some time?
Due to these factors and others, couples need to seek guidance from the church, family members, relatives, and good friends before entering marriage “Without counsel plans go awry, but in the multitude of counsellors they are established” (Proverbs 15:22). With wise counsel, free and frank discussions of problems, the couple can ensure that every important factor is weighed carefully, and every pitfall foreseen (Proverbs 15:22; 20:18; 24:6).
A Bible Example
The Bible provides, in the story of Ruth and Boaz, a couple who had an age gap. Ruth is one of the few people in the Bible with no recorded sin, and she goes down into history following the genealogical line of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5).
- Boaz said to Ruth, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative.” Then he said, “May you be blessed of the LORD, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich. “Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence” (Ruth 3:9-11)
From these verses, it is concluded that there is an age difference between Boaz and Ruth. Boaz calls Ruth “my daughter” and commended her for not “going after young men.” Despite the age difference, their marriage was successful and happy.
Wisdom and love
Marriage is not about age differences (Ephesians 5:25-33). It is about a love relationship between two mature individuals, who have a desire to live to honor and please the Lord. Love is the unifying element that gives success to a marriage union that have been initiated with much prayer, wisdom, and godly counsel. “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:14).
In His service,